I already know I'm gay, I've known for about a year now. There is absolutely no one in Mississippi to talk to about it. I am very close to my parents and I feel it would crush them to know the truth. All of my friends are homophobic and to my knowledge there are VERY few gay people where I live. I don't want to talk to anyone at a hotline because I feel it would be a degrading way to “come out.” I want to be proud of who I am and to live my life the way I want.
I am also worried about my religion. Homosexuality is considered a terrible sin and I feel like I'm abandoning God. I just don't know what to do and I really need some advice.
It sounds like you’re well on your way to establishing an identity as a proud gay man. It’s often a difficult journey but well worth it in the end. While it may seem like you’re the “only one” in Mississippi who is gay, I can assure you that is not the case!
It would be very beneficial to you at this time to find someone who is caring and nonjudgmental; someone that you could talk to about your relatively new sense of self. If there is no friend, school counselor, relative or family friend you think it would be safe to speak with, I urge you to reconsider giving our helpline a call. There is nothing degrading about reaching out for support where you can find it and we established our helpline specifically for young people like yourself who do not believe there is any support for them closer to home. The helpline might also be able to identify resources for you in your area that you might not be aware of.
Regarding religion, keep in mind that major wars have been fought over the centuries in the name of religion so obviously, there is no one way to be a person of faith in this world! While there are those who believe the bible condemns homosexuality (along with many other things that most people don’t think twice about doing, by the way!), there are also many, many people for whom organized religion is an important part of their lives. There are many people who believe God loves all people and does not condemn homosexuals. Just consider that New Hampshire recently ordained an out, gay Episcopal Bishop! If your specific place of worship is not accepting, there are definitely others that are. Please “keep the faith” that you are alright just as you are and are worthy of God’s and other people’s love.